Anyone who puts in their best effort succeeds more than they fail. At any given time, more things are going well than not. Your project, your team, your individual contributions – those things are 95% nailing it.
But it’s that 5% that will take you down.
When you communicate to executives, project stakeholders or to your customer, human nature is to spin the 95% heavily and minimize the 5% as if it doesn’t exist. You want your performance recognized for what it is: really great. You think if you spend time discussing problems, you won’t get the credit you deserve.
It’s counterintuitive, but the best thing you can do is focus your communications on the problems. If you don’t, your executives won’t know you require additional support to solve the issues. Your employees will go home at four instead of staying until six. Your customers will falsely believe delivery will be completely smooth and then fire you later because you lied.
The truth is that those who lead their peers are the ones who absolutely scream about the problems, not resting until there is a course of action in place to fix them. They ensure that executives, employees and customers are all on notice that they have actions to execute to be part of the solution. All stakeholders are held accountable. When you do this, you aren’t viewed as someone who is performing poorly, you are viewed as a rock star who can overcome obstacles.
Confront the ugly truth aggressively, even if it’s only 5% of the pie. Trying to make it appear that ‘everything is okay’ will eventually be exposed, and your legacy will be that of poor performance when you could have been a rock star.
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